Pat McCrory, the Governor of North Carolina, has named a self-published poet as the poet laureate for the state. This immediately created a firestorm of controversy...though not for all the wrong reasons, at least.
Is North Carolina's Governor More Progressive Than You?
Valerie Macon has been appointed the poet laureate of the state of North Carolina, and the state's Governor is in hot water over it.
Usually, this type of appointment involves a ton of red tape. There are submissions and an application process, letters of recommendation. And of course, a full review by the North Carolina Arts Council. Gov. McCrory decided to bypass all of that, however, and appointed Macon on his own.
The Governor also skipped the usual ceremony and events that surround such an appointment, opting instead for a simple press release. This has angered some North Carolina residents, and the story has made national news as a result. But to be honest, the story only has legs for one reason: it involves self-publishing, and those who says indies aren't real writers.
New laureate Macon has only self-published two volumes of poetry, which has drawn a lot of flak from critics. But despite their moans and bellyaching, the die has been cast and Macon is North Carolina's poet laureate. She'll hold the post for two years, receiving a stipend ranging from $5000 to $15,000.
The Governor is not required to use the selection committee or the process -- this according to a statement from the North Carolina Arts Council itself. Their spokesperson says that they are "looking forward" to working with Macon.
Macon says she will "do my very best to promote poetry" in her term and she'll "work hard to be the best poet laureate I possibly can."